A Perth maths teacher fired over criminal allegations he tried to procure a child for sexual activity abruptly left another school almost 20 years ago. The Sunday Times can reveal Roberto “Robert” Charles Messina — who was dramatically arrested at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School on Thursday - had taught at one of Perth’s most elite schools in the early 2000s. In March 2005, Mr Messina was suspended and then left Guildford Grammar School, where he was understood to have worked as a Year 8 maths teacher. Eighteen years later, the married father is now facing one count each of intending to procure a person believed to be under 13 for sexual activity, possessing child exploitation material, and distributing child exploitation material. There is no suggestion that Mr Messina’s suspension from Guildford Grammar School was in any way related to matters such as those which which he is currently charged. His charges came after detectives from the newly-formed child exploitation operations squad executed a search warrant at his family house in Wattle Grove on Thursday, where they seized various electronic devices. In a statement released on Friday, police alleged Mr Messina “utilised various online sites to engage with a person he believed was a young boy”, and that he sent images of a sexual nature in these explicit conversations. Mr Messina’s wife declined to respond to the allegations when approached by The Sunday Times. A next-door neighbour on Saturday said Mr Messina “always seemed nice”. John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School principal Jason Bartell said Mr Messina had been a staff member for 16 years. Mr Messina’s employment as a maths teacher was terminated on Thursday, shortly after his dramatic arrest on school grounds. Mr Bartell confirmed Mr Messina had provided verification of his registration with the Western Australian College of Teaching and a clear criminal check at the time of his appointment on January 1, 2008, and that he had maintained his registration with WACOT and had passed criminal checks since. Mr Messina had also maintained his registration with the Teachers Registration Board of WA since 2012 and had completed Working With Children checks in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022. According to the WA Government the compulsory check, which expires after three years, does not exclude non-conviction charges, pending charges, or spent convictions. A Department of Communities spokesperson said the WWC Screening Unit always considered and assessed the available information to determine if a person posed an unacceptable risk of harm to children. “If the WWC Screening Unit receives new information about a person holding a valid WWC Card that is relevant to the immediate safety of children, the person’s eligibility will be re-assessed,” they said. In a letter to sent to parents on Friday, Mr Bartell revealed he’d only become aware of the allegations of child exploitation against Mr Messina when police arrived at the school to arrest him the day before. “We are cooperating with all police enquiries,” he wrote, adding that none of the charges related to students at the school. The letter was sent as Mr Messina faced Armadale Magistrates Court, where he was represented by a duty lawyer and did not apply for bail, instead requesting a six-week adjournment until January 12 to seek legal advice. He only spoke to confirm his name and that he understood the charges. A WA Government spokesperson told The Sunday Times they were unable to provide comment as the matter was before the courts. “The paramount consideration is the best interests of the children,” they said.